As we come into a season of spending time with family I thought I would dig into how to manage those times of ‘togetherness’. Grandparents and grandchildren can be both excited and nervous to spend time together during family functions. Children may exhibit behavior grandparents aren’t used to and that can be a confusing dilemma. Extension.org has a great article on understanding children’s behavior during these exciting family times.
Understanding Grandchildren’s Behaviors
Don’t get me wrong, spending time together with extended can be a fabulous time. In fact another article I read made me smile and think of how much I miss my own grandparents and the wonderful stories they told.
Stories about Granparents and Grandchildren
I am grateful for the many stories I heard, for grandparents that understood my nervous behaviors and for countless times spent with extended family members.
I’ve got my list and I’m checking it twice. No, I’m not the jolly old Santa whose lap the kids climb on with those endless “I want” lists. Rather I am the Grandmother wondering what I can get the grandkids that they will appreciate and use. Gone are the days when it was so easy buying for the babies.
So what to do? Well I could get a list from the kids or ask their parents for ideas. Or, I could figure out ways to give of myself to strengthen the bonds of connection. Perhaps there is a combination of the two that makes sense for me.
Kristi Cooper, a co-worker, recently wrote two handouts that are filled with practical ways to create meaning.
Giving and receiving gifts is an expression of love. It can be done in a manner that is respectful to needs, wants, finances, and family values. When gift giving occasion arise – holidays, birthdays, and special events – I give from the heart. Honoring the special connection with my grandkids is priceless.
How do you handle gift giving with your grandkids?
Isn’t that a great word? I’m still smiling typng it. I found it on the AARP website while I was looking for statistics. According to their site, 4.9 million children under the age of 18 live with their grandparents. Thus making them ‘grandfamilies’ . In fact to quote the site, “As increasing numbers of grandchildren rely on grandparents for the security of a home, their grandparents are taking on more of the responsibility for raising them in a tough economy — many with work challenges of their own. For these grandparents, raising another family wasn’t part of the plan. But they step up to the plate when their loved ones need them.”
Grandfamilies, yes that’s a great word for those that are stepping up to take care of family members in need. Celebrate their commitment to family. Share their stories of greatness here.
I am the proud grandmother of seven young adults. They range in age from 14 – 24. Obviously they are well beyond the days of cuddling on my lap or arriving at the door with little suitcase in hand ready for a sleepover. As grandchildren grow up, it becomes a challenge as to how to keep connected.
Fascinating information from a new AARP survey reveals that more than 80% of grandparents speak to their grandchildren on the phone at least once a month. More than 1/3 do their communication via new technology – think Skype, Facebook, texting. So I started asking myself if I fit these results. I use Facebook for keeping up day-to-day. I text when I want a quick check-in. Phone calls follow if we need a longer conversation.
And what do we talk about? Again I’m right in tune with the survey results. The AARP survey says 50% talk about morals and values; religion and spirituality; peer pressure or bullying; illegal drugs; and drinking and alcohol use. Dating or sex are topics for 37% of the grandparents. I have to laugh as I often start conversations with some of the grandkids with this question, “And are you making good choices?”
The data about frequency of communication, as well as topics, fits well with grandparents serving a role as mentor and teacher. We have a wonderful chance to help grandchildren by sharing our experiences and knowledge, all wrapped up in a big dose of love. A personal aside – I always end my texts with Love, Gma.
How often do you communicate with your grandkids and what do you talk about?
Historian, mentor and friend are some of the roles that today’s grandparents play. The relationship of a grandparent and grandchild is second in emotional importance only to the parent/child relationship.This month we will take a closer look at the various roles of grandparents, including grandparents raising their grandchildren. During November we will talk about how important grandparents can be in the lives of their grandchildren.
Time with Grandparents
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